Jambo Africa Online’s Deputy Editor, DITHAKO NAKEDI, profiles Dr Nimrod Oupa Mbele’s trailblazing company, Knowledge Anchors Group (KAG).
The year 2010 was – for South Africa and the broader continent – a time of renewed hope.
It was indeed during the course of this remarkable year that Knowledge Anchors Group was founded, at the same time that SA was hosting the historic FIFA World Cup 2010 – the first time Africa was hosting this world’s soccer spectacle.
It was a collective initiative by four innovative South Africans – namely, Dr Nimrod Mbele, Adv Moroka Phalane, Osborne Seboni and Mvelase Justice Ndaba, who together put up an company which is today known in and around the circles of business and learning as the KAG.
In a nutshell, the KAG is a conglomerate made up of the foursome’s collective pedigree spanning upwards of a century.
“We pride ourselves as being a values-based organisation with a commitment to continually improve our service offering and identify creative solutions to enhance a culture of excellence permeating across our client organisations,” declares KAG’s founding document.
The entity offers consulting services through, inter alia, risk management and turnaround solutions. This is even more critical and urgent today as the world battles in developing effective post-COVID-19 sustainable and growth strategies.
Working with the KAG, clients will be assisted in developing business plans sufficiently excellent to afford them opportunities to raise capital. At the core of the company’s stakeholder management matrix, is the principle of developing long-term strategic relationships with clients. Hence the company’s mission statement boldly declares: “We develop long-term service relationships with our customers and cooperation partners based on professionalism and loyalty.”
It is such uncompromising commitment to service excellence and a strong value system that the KAG has attracted such credible clients as McDonald’s, Regent Business School, Powermatla, Chartered Secretaries of Southern Africa (CSSA) and Regenesys Business School. In the current business world in which efficiency and effectiveness are premium currencies, the KAG is positioned as a one-stop-shop which provides various service offerings – these include media services and EDUVOD. For the uninitiated, EDUVOD is a system comprising a Linux-based server connected to a satellite dish antenna in a secure location within a school complex to receive the content broadcast from a data or broadcast centre.
The KAG group also offers an e-learning platform, Human Resources or capital and company secretariat/governance services. As globalisation intensifies, corporate governance also places a premium price on every company’s brand equity.
The KAG’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Nimrod Oupa Mbele, has brought with him immense experience and expertise into the company after having served at the helm of many organizations as Chief Operating Officer (COO) before becoming CEO at Dual Point Holdings. He also served as COO at the Wits Business School; at the Regenesys Management as head of Centre for Local Government; executive director at Workplace Innovations; and, Provincial Director at the National Development Agency (NDA) in Mpumalanga where he was a member of the crucial Board Sub-Committee on Tenders and Projects. This governance architect has been a member of the Institute of Directors of South Africa (IODSA) since 2009. He has thus also served as a non-executive director at Zoolooh Group Holdings.
Dr Mbele is endowed with an insatiable desire to develop professional capacity not only among the KAG’s clientele, but also in business schools. He is a seasoned lecturer in the following discipline: performance management; corporate strategy design and implementation; Project management, Change Management; Risk Management and Corporate governance. He has lectured and supervised post-graduate students at Wits and Regenesys over a 10-year period. He has published several peer-reviewed articles on governance, leadership and management in various academic journals. He has also contributed a chapter in a textbook for the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges which was published by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).
The TVET colleges are a strategic key to unlocking opportunities that could drive economic growth globally. This is even significant in South Africa where education is facing various challenges. The National Development Plan (NDP) has emphasised that education lies at “the heart of improving the country’s economic potential.”
In 2020 , only 59,0% of South Africans of working age are employed and of the 16.4 million unemployed people, 63,3% of them are young people. It goes without saying that this number has drastically increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The statistics were extremely disturbing. Of the 10,3 million persons aged between 15-24 years in the first quarter of 2020, approximately 3,5 million or 34,1% were not in employment, education or training. Of the 20,4 million young people aged between 15-34 years, about 8,5 million or 41,7% were not in employment, education or training. These suggests that South African youth face extreme difficulties such as lack of experience and as such length of unemployment may increase the vulnerabilities of these young people in the labour market.
A seasoned media personality, he anchors a thought leadership radio show called “beyond governance” at Chai FM 101.9. To date, he hosted numerous interviews with captains of industry, legislators and senior government officials on several leadership and management issues and challenges.
He is also renowned as a prolific and consummate speaker in the conference circuit. He attended and also addressed a number of national and international conferences on themes such as leadership, management and corporate governance. He recently addressed international conferences hosted by the Charted Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA) and Robert Edwin Conferences respectively.
At the conference organised by CSSA under the theme” 8th Premier Corporate Governance”, Nimrod presented alongside Professor Mervyn King of the King Report, Ms Tsakani Ratsela (Deputy Auditor General of South Africa, Mahomed Adam of ArcelorMitall South Africa and Elsabe Kersten of Old Mutual to mention a few. At the conference organised by Robert Edwin Conferences, under the theme “2nd Annual Public Sector Lawyers Conference” he presented alongside Advocate Macgregor Kufa of the National Research Foundation and Mr. Dumisani Ntombela of Worldview Academy.
Another towering giant at the KAG is Advocate Moroka Phalane, who is also working at the high court of South Africa, and holds qualifications in B. Proc and LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as a Certificate in Finance and Accounting from the Wits Business School, among other credentials. He has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, spanning nearly 20 years and encompassing various areas of business management and commercial law.
His wide-ranging list of accomplishments and experience includes being; Legal Advisor to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM); Group Manager: Employee Relations at Airports Company South Africa (ACSA); Group Manager: Policy and Regulatory Affairs at ACSA; member of the Corporate Tender Board at ACSA; Arbitrator and Conciliator at the Institute of Mining Surveyors of Southern Africa (IMSSA); Director and Chairperson of the Audit Committee of the East London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ); General Manager at the East London Airport; Executive Manager: Projects at Edgars Consolidated (EDCON); Founder Shareholder and Executive Director for Masimo Chemicals Logistics; Legal Consultant to AMCI Africa; Director and Audit Committee Member of Sefateng Chrome; Founder Member of Phalane Corporate and Legal Consulting; a Director at Mzansi Risk Advisors; Co-founder and Director of Phama Media, an Executive Advisor to the CEO at the South African Airways (SAA), and Project Lead for the Gauteng Human Settlements Mega Projects.
Justice Ndaba holds the purse at the KAG by its strings, and word has it that he does that by the book of arithmetic. Of course he is currently the executive director responsible for strategy and finance. His previous experience includes working as head of consulting at Dual Point Holdings. He is a former Head of Strategy at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Acting Group Executive of Human Capital.
Another luminary at the KAG is Orsbon Seboni who is a dynamic and versatile Human Capital professional and Strategic advisor, leveraging extensive expertise coordinating the entire human capital management spectrum, providing corporate litigation and advisory services. His experience has seen him holding various executive positions in companies such as SAB and ABI.
He has consistent success in championing change management and introducing growth-focused strategies, policies and procedures including staff development initiatives and programs to maximise efficiency, productivity, retention and communications, and reduce risk and expenses. He has further held Director positions in AVI, Nandos and Coca-Cola Canners.
He is a sociable leader and innovative change agent displaying strategic agility, solid business acumen, exceptional people management capabilities, and unparalleled communication and organizational skills, with proactive, robust work ethic, able to create high-performing environments, and engage with, train and inspired workforce to continually excel.
He holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, CPIR, Advanced Labour Law Diploma, post-graduate Management Advancement Programme (MAP) and other executive development programs.
He demonstrates strong insights in Human Capital initiatives on building solid relationships, promoting synergy, bringing about positive change and enhanced profitability, and positioning business for success.
This is the kind of a solid team that any company aspiring to compete with global players in capturing not only South African but continental market has to make a date with. The continent is integrating into a free trade area through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which will be the world’s largest free trade area with a combined GDP of over $3.6 trillion and over 1.27 consumers. Only dynamic, resolute and visionary African companies will successfully tap into these opportunities if supported by such forward-looking and credible service providers as the KAG. Remember what Isaac Newton said: “If I had seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants…”
The following are some of the ChaiFM podcasts by Dr Nimrod Oupa Mbele